Thursday, September 15, 2011

Riding Through This World...

There are bikes everywhere in Osaka.  I was kind of surprised since I don’t particularly remember bikes from my last trip and I haven’t read anything about them.  There’s hardly anywhere to park cars and the subway is fairly expensive so I guess it makes sense.  The bikes are a little different from American bikes.  They’re mostly one speed and they sit a lower to the ground so you can put your feet down without leaving the seat.  It’s really easy to stop which is important since bikes share the sidewalk with pedestrians and often have to navigate around them.  I hope there are not many collisions because I haven’t seen a single bike helmet.  All bikes seem to make these horrible screeching sounds when the breaks are applied.  It’s something similar to scraping finger nails across a chalk board and it kind of makes me want to tear out my eardrums.

Since I’m not going to be here very long, I thought I would just ride the subway and wouldn’t need a bike.  But people kept telling me that bikes are essential and that it would make my life a lot easier.  I did a little math and found that subway trips really add up with each round trip costing 460 yen/$6.  Used bikes are relatively inexpensive at only 5900 yen/$77.  It’s the one thing that seems to be cheaper over here.  So, with that in mind, I bought a bike.  It’s got a basket, a bell, a built in lock, a chain cover so I don’t get my jeans caught on the chain, and one of those lights that’s powered by the wheel.  With my phone, I’m now Japanese gear complete.
My Bike

Apparently bikes do get stolen, but sometimes they get returned.  Edward told me that his was stolen once, but turned up a few days later with an apology note in Japanese.  Someone just really needed the bike that day.


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